USA TODAY High School Sports presents the 2017-18 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Girls Lacrosse Team. The honorees were selected based on performance, level of competition and strength of schedule.
Coach of the Year: Mac Ford, Notre Dame Prep
School: Notre Dame Prep (Towson, Md.)
Hannah Mardiney has always been able to put the ball in the back of the net. But this year, the 5-foot-3 senior attacker played a more balanced game and it led Notre Dame Prep to unprecedented heights.
Mardiney’s distribution of the ball and her willingness to play the decoy on occasion opened up the field for the Blazers and earned her ALL-USA Player of the Year honors.
Mardiney is a dangerous attacking player. She combines speed with elusiveness and the ability to shoot with both hands to keep defenders constantly off-balance.
“She is the best dodger in girls high school lacrosse,” NDP coach Mac Ford said. “She has a unique ability to change directions and get quality shots both left-handed and right-handed. She is nearly impossible to handle one-on-one.”
Because of her offensive abilities, Mardiney has always been face-guarded on the lacrosse field. The tactic rarely slowed down her goal-scoring ways. Nevertheless, as a senior Mardiney’s first instinct when she had the ball wasn’t always to go for goal. She mixed it up, keeping defenses off-balance by passing the ball early or setting a pick that would open up space for teammates to go to goal. The end result was a career-high 45 assists for Mardiney, who had tallied 50 assists total in her first three years with NDP.
“She became a very unselfish player this year,” Ford said. “She realized with her talent and opponents’ focus, she could make everyone around her better.”
Mardiney didn’t exactly become an offensive wallflower. She still led the Blazers with 55 goals (for a career total of 203), but NDP didn’t need her to score to be successful. There was no better display of that philosophy than in the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland ‘A’ Conference state title game. Notre Dame Prep (17-4) ended McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.) School’s 198-game, nine-year win streak with a 10-8 victory. As she always does, Mardiney played a vital role in the win. And she did it despite scoring just one goal.
“She did whatever was necessary to lead our team to the championship,” Ford said. “She was a tremendous leader for our team and everyone fed off of that.”
Mardiney is a two-time Baltimore Sun All-Metro selection and a 2018 IAAM All-Conference honoree. She was also invited to the 2019 US Lacrosse Women’s U19 National Team tryout camp in August. Shortly after that camp, Mardiney will head to Gainesville, Fla., to begin her collegiate career at the University of Florida.
The Gators will be getting more than just a scorer in Mardiney, who is ranked as the No. 6 recruit in the Class of 2018 by InsideLacrosse.com. They’ll be getting an all-around player ready to help in any way she can.
PRESEASON: ALL-USA Preseason Girls Lacrosse Team
LOOKBACK: 2016-17 ALL-USA Girls Lacrosse Teams